Saturday, October 25, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Skywatch Friday 79

A couple weeks ago, I explored a part of the Arboretum I had not been to previously. The Wingra Oak Savanna and Wingra Marsh border the northern edge of Lake Wingra, along Arbor Drive and Monroe Street. The trails in this section are narrow, with an extensive section of boardwalks that take one right along the edge of the lake. It was a beautiful autumn day, and the views across our smallest lake breathtaking.

Lake reflection and fallen trees

Check out that blue sky -- we had some
clouds, but warm temps and only a light breeze.

Drawing closer to the marsh, you can see more reeds and weeds

LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thursday Thirteen 355: Recently Read

With autumn comes a new crop of books. Here's a peek at what I've read recently. As always, click on any cover or link to learn more about a book.


ROW 1: Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs is a collection of short stories from the Mercy Thompson universe. Some have been published previously in other collections, some are new. Urban Sensation by Debb Webb is a modern Gothic romance, an older rom-suspense I plucked out of Mount TBR for a reading challenge (it was my "U" book for "S-U-M-M-E-R"). A Rancher's Brand of Justice was also a challenge book (My "R" book).

ROW 2: The first two books in this row are steamy hot reads with explicit content that were free and read on a friend's Nook. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov was a classic group read. It was a bit slow in parts, but worth finishing and not quite what I was expecting. It was banned in many countries when first published. Though not banned in the USA, it is frequently challenged.

ROW 3: The Chocolate War is one many teens read in high school, and which is frequently challenged due to content. It was left behind by my sister when we went to college, and which I finally got round to reading. This was a tough read emotionally— particularly at the end. I have been wanting to read The Phantom of the Opera for some time now, and was not disappointed in this classic group read. The writing and mystery are excellent -- I highly recommend it, especially to anyone who thinks they know the story. The Mysterious Affair at Styles is a classic mystery by the imcomparable Agatha Christie, and the first to feature Hercule Poirot. I don't recall reading it before or seeing the movie, and yet I knew parts of it, so must have done one or the either at some point.

ROW 4: Jenn McKinlay was the September "featured author" in the Cozy Mysteries group. The first two books in her "Library Lovers" series were okay, and I will probably read book three at some point, since it is in Mount TBR. A Fatal Stain is the third and final book in Elise Hyatt's "A Daring Find" series. Did not like this one as much as the first two.

ROW 5: A Killer Crop is book four in Sheila Connolly's "Orchard" mystery series, which I've been meaning to catch up on for some time now. One down, three four to go. Not to mention two other series of hers to catch up on.

YOUR TURN: What have you been reading lately?

LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wordless Wednesday 154: Serenity

A peaceful stream at UW Arboretum * Madison, WI


Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 20, 2014

Teaser Tuesday 239: Tomb With a View

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

This week I am catching up with another cozy mystery series. I finished book five in the "Pepper Martin" series by Casey Daniels over the weekend and immediately started book six, Tomb With a View. This is how it opens:

ATTENTION WORDPRESS USERS: Some of your WP-based blogs are sending legitimate comments to the junk bin again instead of posting them as it should. Please check your junk/spam files for legitimate commenters such as myself and mark us as "not spam." And if you know how to contact WP to register a complaint, please let me know, because this happens whether I use my Blogger ot WP ID, and after four or five months of this garbage I have had enough. Thank you!

If I knew Marjorie Klinker was going to get murdered, I might have been nicer to her. Well . . . maybe. Unfortunately, though I have the incredibly annoying "Gift" of being able to see and talk to the dead, I am not psychic. Which means I have no way of predicting the future. That morning in late summer when it all started, I didn't know what was going to happen in just a little over twenty-four hours, and not knowing it, when my boss, Ella Silverman, informed me that I'd be working side by side with Marjorie, I reacted the way any rational human being would.

I freaked.

Series: Pepper Martin #6

Cemetery tour guide and reluctant medium Pepper Martin is always up for some fun that doesn't involve seeing and talking to dead people. So a gig commemorating a dead president can only mean good times are not ahead . . .

Since Cleveland's Garden View Cemetery is going to be celebrating James A. Garfield's 179th birthday, Pepper has been assigned to plan it with Marjorie Klinker, know-it-all volunteer and Garfield fanatic. It's enough to send Pepper to an early grave—especially because Marjorie won't shut up about being related to the late president.

But when Marjorie takes an assisted header over the balcony in the Garfield memorial, Pepper needs to solve the case—if only to show up her detective ex-boyfriend. It doesn't help that Garfield's ghost is boring Pepper to tears with his excessive use of his freedom of speech. She's made an executive decision to find a flesh-and-blood killer, and she's going to stick t it—even if it gets her assassinated . . .

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Skywatch Friday 78

Scenes from a dreary rainy day (Oct 14) . . .

I didn't notice the bird when I took this photo--at least someone didn't mind the weather.

I like the slight tree reflection in the wet pavement in this one

Spider webs and red leaf reflected in the rain-drenched window

Facade of the building next door

Shadowy outline of a telephone pole

LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday

Thursday Thirteen 354: Thirteen Titles

This weekend is the Wisconsin Book Festival, so I thought I would feature thirteen random book titles with "thirteen" in the title . . .

1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

2. Thirteen by Tom Hoyle

3. Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier

4. Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

5. Thirteen by Candice Ransom

6. Number Thirteen by Bella Jewel

7. The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie

8. Thirteen (Women of the Otherworld #13) by Kelley Armstrong

9. Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman

10. Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon

11. The Thirteen Hallows (Thirteen Hallows #1) by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman

12. Thirteen Steps Down by Ruth Rendel

13. Field of Thirteen by Dick Francis

I haven't read any of these, though a couple have caught my attention. You?

LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Teaser Tuesday 238: A Killer Crop

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

This week I am reading a cozy mystery, A Killer Crop by Sheila Connolly. This is book four in her Orchard series. I've been meaning to catch up on this series for a while now, and the harvest theme of this book is certainly appropriate to the season.

"Hello, Meg? This is Raynard. You need to come home. There's been some trouble."

Chapter 8

An Orchard Mystery #4

When Meg Corey’s mother arrives unannounced in Granville, Massachusetts, Meg’s sure it’s not just to pay a surprise visit to the apple of her eye. The timing is terrible—it’s harvest season and Meg is understaffed in the orchard. Plus Elizabeth Corey is clearly hiding the real purpose of her trip from her daughter.

After an English professor from Amherst—who is an old friend of her mother—is found dead on the floor of a cider house, Elizabeth is interrogated by the police, and then grilled by her daughter. She is indeed keeping a secret—but could Meg’s own mother really have committed murder? One thing is clear: someone decided to teach the professor a lesson. And the key to unlocking the mystery may lie with a poet who could not stop for death . . .

Random Photo: Purple Asters

Asters * October 7, 2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Delightful Duo

Two more ornaments completed last week. These were a pain in the you-know-what to do. The dress of the pink angel especially gave me trouble, and I was reminded how much I dislike stitching with gold metallic thread, particularly with the wings. Looks cool, but it frays far too easily.

Patterns stitched from Cross-Stitch Christmas (1994)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Skywatch 77

Colder temps are really making leaf color start to pop. This is a line of trees at the UW Arboretum, along the Beltline Highway. Don't you love those colors against that bright October blue sky?

LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Thursday Thirteen 353: Shades of Autumn


Milkweed pods dispersing seeds

Frost Asters

LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen